HENKI WALDSCHMIDT SHOWS HIS TALENT IN GP2 TEST AT PAUL RICARD 18-year old Dutchman rewarded for good results in Formula Renault 2.0 Henki Waldschmidt got the maximum result from his one-day test in the GP2 Series at the Paul Ricard circuit ...
HENKI WALDSCHMIDT SHOWS HIS TALENT IN GP2 TEST AT PAUL RICARD
18-year old Dutchman rewarded for good results in Formula Renault 2.0
Henki Waldschmidt got the maximum result from his one-day test in the GP2 Series at the Paul Ricard circuit in France. On the track that is owned by Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone the young Dutchman and his French DAMS team were continuously at the front among the international top drivers. Out of 26 competitors the rookie ended the day in fifteenth position. Waldschmidt was given the opportunity to test the GP2 car by the Toyota Formula 1 team, based on his excellent results in the last period. The 18-year old driver was taken up into the Toyota Young Drivers Programme (TDP) last year by the Japanese car manufacturer. Waldschmidt, who is now living in the Italian city of Vicenza, is been coached by Toyota and prepared for the top of motor racing. The Dutchman is competing this season for the Italian Prema Power Team.
Waldschmidt is currently having a superb season, after a learning year in 2006. The driver from The Hague is leading the Italian Formula Renault 2.0 championship (2 victories, 4 podiums and 3 pole positions) and is in third place in the strong European competition (1 victory and 2 podiums). The GP2 Series are seen as the last stop on the way to Formula 1. Drivers like Nelson Piquet jr, Nico Rosberg and the current Formula 1 championship leader Lewis Hamilton stepped up from GP2 Series to Formula 1. The championship is driven as a supporting series for Formula 1, which means the talents can show their abilities to many F1 team owners.
Waldschmidt has had many successes in his brief career in several karting championships. Between 1998 and 2002 he was Dutch Champion for 5 times. In 2002 he was also vice-champion in the European Championship. In 2003 he won the German championship and the year after he won both the Italian and French karting championships. He also finished third in the European Championship and won the prestigious Andrea Margutti Trophy. Waldschmidt was spotted by Toyota because of his talent.
Waldschmidt had so far only raced on karts and in the 2 litre Formula Renault cars. With this test he made a giant leap towards the highest ranks in racing. The talent took the chance with both hands and completed 60 laps on the 4.087 kilometres long track. Today Waldschmidt will hand over the car to Japanese driver Nakajima, who is also in the Toyota Young Drivers Programme, next to his role as test driver for the Williams F1 team.
HENKI WALDSCHMIDT: "The test went perfect. After fitting a seat on Monday, I started my GP2 test yesterday morning. I was given 2 sets of tyres for this test day and went out on fresh tyres. I did short runs all the time and was able to improve my times all day long. At the start of the test I had to get used to this car. With 600bhp on board, big tyres, carbon brakes and no power steering it meant a lot of hard work for me. In the afternoon I went out on new tyres again. I tried to set a fast lap, but after two laps the gearbox failed. That was really a pity, as we could have gotten more out of it. Either way it was a great experience and I would like to thank the Toyota Young Drivers Programme team and DAMS a lot for giving me this opportunity. I will stay with the team and follow the action of the other two drivers today."